The idea of organizing a benefit dinner sprang from a pure desire to combine an evening of beautiful music and good food while raising awareness and money for AVSI-USA.
“My friend Filippo Mambelli and I had been hosting these evenings where he would prepare a beautiful meal for friends and I would get some of my musician friends over to read chamber music,” says musician Mary Kelly. “The evenings were full of joy, laughter, and beauty, and each evening, I would come away having discovered something about myself that I hadn't perceived before.”
When Filippo suggested to his friend to organize a similar dinner and music evening, but have it benefit AVSI-USA, Mary was all in.
"I didn't know what AVSI-USA was, but I was curious to learn while preparing for the evening. I was able to book a hall at the Conservatory where I work and the evening was born!" remembers the musician.
From there, others expressed a desire to participate in the event and people started popping out of the woodwork to organize and help. The desire to help was immediate.
Article originally published by El Pais
Monica Piloya recalls every detail of the day a land mine changed her life.
“It was midday and I had just returned from the market. The rebels had attacked our village the night before. I walked away from the main road to allow a motorcyclist to pass and I stepped on a mine. In an instant, I was on the ground. These scars on my right hand were caused by the explosion and they had to amputate my leg. I tried to protect my son who was on my back but he died in hospital due to his injuries.”
In 2003, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony terrorized villages in Northern Uganda. LRA searched for children to recruit in their militias and young women to kidnap and rape as war trophies. Most of the mines and explosives that still reappear in rural areas can be traced back to those years.
“After three months in the hospital, my life became extremely difficult. I was a farmer, but without a leg, I could no longer work. I didn’t know how to deal with my disability. My husband left, leaving me alone,” remembers Piloya.
Research has shown the positive effects of dramatized storytelling on language development and student achievement. Children at Afferi Elementary, a school of 3 classes in Bondoukou, in the region of Gontougo, Ivory Coast, are no exception.
"I come to the library, looking for the book our teacher just read because when I read it again, I can understand even better the story and the lessons in the book," says third-grader Dongo Yao Bricono.
Dongo is one of the students who attends the dramatized storytelling sessions brought by AVSI to his school thanks to the Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program funded by USDA/McGovern-Dole Program.
A refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) living in Rwanwanja Settlement, Kamwenge District, Uganda, Bugenimana Kamara describes with one word the experience she had last week (May 14-16) during the #MyVillageMyMarket event: incredible.
"I learned about the different seeds, how to plant them and when, and how to protect my crops from pests,” says Bugenimana. “I am also happy that now I know how to treat my animals using the medicines I have seen in the stalls, they will no longer just die.”
Bugenimana is one of the participants of the Graduating to Resilience Activity, funded by the Office of Food for Peace, USAID and led by AVSI Foundation in a consortium with Trickle Up and IMPAQ International. The goal is to graduate extremely poor refugee households who fled from DRC and Ugandan vulnerable households from conditions of food insecurity and fragile livelihoods to self-reliance and resilience.
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